Eden Prairie's Casey Mittelstadt was the only Minnesota high school player to receive an "A Rating" in the NHL's preseason "Players to Watch' list. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
More than a dozen of Minnesota top high school boys' hockey players were named to the NHL Central Scouting's 2016-17 list of "preliminary players to watch" released Oct. 4.
Eden Prairie’s Casey Mittelstadt and former Lakeville North forward Ryan Poehling were two of 29 players given an “A Rating” by the pro league’s scouting department, meaning they’re poised to be first-round picks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft next June.
A Minnesota commit, Mittelstadt is splitting time this season between Green Bay in the United States Hockey League and Eden Prairie. The 6-foot, 201-pound senior led the Eagles with 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists) a year ago and is an early favorite to win Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award.
Poehling led the Panthers with 20 goals and 34 assists as a junior but is forgoing his senior year with Lakeville North to join his brothers, twins Nick and Jack, at St. Cloud State.
The state’s remaining prep skaters, including several potential Mr. Hockey finalists, received a “C Rating,” which indicates a draft position in the fourth, fifth or sixth round. They are Nick Leivermann (Eden Prairie), Sam Walker (Edina), Bram Scheerer (Edina), Grant Anderson (Wayzata), Dylan Samberg (Hermantown), Matt Anderson (Holy Family Catholic), Connor Mayer (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), Benton Maass (Elk River), Keaton Pehrson (Lakeville North), Joshua Ess (Lakeville South), Jesse Bjugstad (Stillwater), Noah Cates (Stillwater) and Micah Miller (Grand Rapids).
Thirteen former Minnesota high school players also received grades. Their names and grades are in the table below.
|Rating||Name||Team||Former High School||Last Year/Class||Position|
|A||Casey Mittelstadt||Eden Prairie||C|
|A||Ryan Poehling||St. Cloud State||Lakeville North||Junior/2015-16||C|
|B||Jake Oettinger||Boston University||Lakeville North||Freshman/2013-14||G|
|B||Nate Knoepke||NTDP U-18||Lakeville South||Sophomore/2014-15||D|
|B||Grant Mismash||NTDP U-18||Shattuck-St. Mary’s||LW|
|B||Scott Reedy||NTDP U-18||Shattuck-St. Mary’s||C|
|B||Clayton Phillips||Fargo (USHL)||Edina||Sophomore/2015-16||D|
|C||Connor Mayer||Benilde-St. Margaret's||D|
|C||Nick Leivermann||Eden Prairie||D|
|C||Benton Maass||Elk River||D|
|C||Micah Miller||Grand Rapids||RW|
|C||Matt Anderson||Holy Family Catholic||D|
|C||Keaton Pehrson||Lakeville North||D|
|C||Joshua Ess||Lakeville South||D|
|C||Dylan Mills||Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL)||Hill Murray||Sophomore/2015-16||C|
|C||Isaac Johnson||Des Moines (USHL)||Anoka||Junior/2015-16||LW|
|C||Ryan Bischel||Fargo (USHL)||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Junior/2015-16||G|
|C||Matthew Hellickson||Sioux City (USHL)||Rogers||Sophomore/2013-14||D|
|C||Dayton Rasmussen||Tri-City (USHL)||Holy Family Catholic||Freshman/2013-14||G|
|C||Benjamin Copeland||Waterloo (USHL)||Edina||Junior/2015-16||C|
|C||Austin Pratt||Red Deer (WHL)||Shattuck-St. Mary’s||RW|